4 family gratitude activities

Amanda Collins Bernier
Baystateparent Magazine

Thanksgiving comes Thursday, Nov. 26, but there’s no reason the gratitude can’t start early. Finding and focusing on the good (especially in years like this), is good for families, and kids in particular. A daily gratitude practice has science-backed benefits: according to research, being grateful decreases stress and negative thinking while increasing happiness and social intelligence. 

Check out these four fun ways to introduce a gratitude practice to your family, and start counting your blessings. 

Thankful Pumpkin

Thankful pumpkin

This couldn’t be easier… all you need is a pumpkin and a sharpie! Have each family member name something they’re thankful for everyday, and write the answers on the pumpkin. By Thanksgiving, you’ll have a pumpkin centerpiece full of happiness. 

Wreath of Thanks

Wreath of Thanks

Wrap ribbon around a Styrofoam wreath and secure with it ball-head straight pins. Cut leaves out of colored paper or cardstock. Each day, ask kids to write what they’re feeling grateful for on a leaf, and pin it to the wreath. To hang, pin a loop of string or twine to the back of the wreath.

Gratitude Tree

Gratitude Tree

This one is particularly fun for little ones. Go outside and collect some sticks to put into a small vase, mason jar, cup, etc. (If you want, you can fill the vase with rocks or acorns for a more finished look.) Cut leaf shapes out of colored construction paper (we hunted for leaves outside to trace, too!). Punch a hole in the top of each leaf, and loop and tie a piece of ribbon or twine to each. Each day, ask your child something they’re thankful for. Write their answer on a leaf, and let them hang it from the branches.

Grateful Snaps 

Grateful snaps

A photo challenge is great for teens or tweens who are attached to their phones. Encourage them to take a photo every day for a month of something they’re thankful for. It could be their coziest blanket, best friend, backyard treehouse, etc. Each week, look at the photos together and talk about what makes them grateful. At the end of the month, you can print the photos and make a gratitude album or poster.